I had our first child at age 32 after a fun career in international business. Accordingly, my sole priority became being “the perfect mom.” Only homemade organic food for that boy (he preferred hot dogs and ice cream). Only the most wholesome videos (he’d rather play pretend shooting games). And, Bible stories and prayers at bedtime (he actually loved these). My motivation was to “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6, NIV).
Needless to say, however, even with these God-pleasing motives firmly in place, I didn’t always feel refreshed at the end of the day. The definition of “refresh” is give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate, but sometimes I didn’t feel refreshed at all, just discouraged and exhausted.
So, what is God really saying when he promises that our generosity of time, resources, and finances to refresh others will in turn lead to our own refreshment?
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
Perhaps we need to redefine what prosper and refreshing means. It doesn’t mean you will walk around feeling like you just walked off a cruise ship after a week away in the Caribbean. As Ben mentioned this weekend, to prosper means to grow fat, and to be refreshed means to be watered, satiated, or satisfied.
I saw this principle played out in another season of my life when my husband received the diagnosis at age 62 that he had early onset Alzheimer’s disease, God gave me the grace and determination to walk those last six years of degeneration with him without wavering. Because God watered and satisfied me as I poured into my husband, we had more good days than bad; and for every circumstance, problem, and decision, God sent us the people we needed to keep us safe and my husband happy. We were blessed in abundance.
As we end this week’s study, I encourage you to be at peace in your service to others. God has a plan for them. It’s our job to trust him!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Why do you pour yourself into loving and helping others?
How does that reason line up with God’s teaching in today’s lesson?
If you are new to the idea of serving and the least bit curious, check out GrowthTrack, a four-week experience where you will learn about the spiritual journey and how God has wired you. Talk with your campus staff for more information.
My sweet Lord and Father, thank you for saving me from myself and filling me with a desire to invest in others in your name. Please continue to grow me in my relationship with you. Amen.
This post was written by Martha Preckler. Martha loves Jesus and growing closer to him every day. She loves serving on the Sparkle Team and Greeter Team, as a Landing Leader, GrowthTrack hostess, and fill-in writer for LIO. Martha is the grateful mother of two grown sons and one daughter-in-law. Both sons are good writers, but one is a published urban fantasy writer and self-proclaimed grammar dictator, which he swears he picked up from his mother. She has been a Toledo Business Journal contributor, speech writer, as well as creator of dozens of promotional pieces for seniors’ events and programming offer by the YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo.
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